Since everyone has been chomping at the bit, I figure there’s no reason to keep you waiting.
If you don’t want to watch the finale in the small window, you can watch it here. Big thanks to Darknest for the rip and upload.
I’d first like to say Hat’s off the folks behind the show and to all the Contenders, what a great first season. My first post on the Contender Asia was in November 2006, It was my 9th post on MyMuayThai.com. It seems like ages ago.
I wrote this post about The Contender for a Thai paper back in March of ’07. The main question that I raised in the article is whether or not the Contender Asia would propel Muay Thai onto the world stage? Would it be enough to get mainstream Thailand interested in Muay Thai?
It’s a bit early, but I would have to say yes. I have friends in Bangkok who have little or no interest in Muay Thai, emailing me to tell me they just caught the finale on TV. My aunt (who’s pretty old) know who Yodsaenklai is…
I was lucky enough to find out about the show when I was training at Ingram gym in Bangkok. It’s a bit of an understatement to say I was looking forward to this show. I think this has been one of the best things to happened to our art to our sport in a long while. Yes the dubbing and reality show editing can be a bit much at times, but I think it’s been enormously successful at introducing and making Muay Thai accessible to a general audience.
I’m excited at the prospects that there will be a second season… but there never quite the same as the first season.
On a side note, something stuck me as strange… did Fairtex have a bit of a falling out with the Contender Asia? It wouldn’t surprise me after the whole Naruepol, Yodsanklai showdown. It’s strange that throughout the show we were bombarded with their branding, gloves, shorts, the ring etc. only to be replaced by paypal and skype? Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but the sponsors for this final episode appeared to be pulled together last minute… I wanted to see how they would handle the camp name during the introductions and sure enough everyone was careful even the commentators not to drop the F bomb.
Anyways, Zach I owe you an apology. In my earlier posts I had all but written you off. I think at one point I might have called you Muay Thai fodder, for that I am a dipshit. You definitely represented… It must have been great fighting in front of a packed home crowd. I’m not really sure what was going on with Zidov… I thought for sure he was going to come out swinging. I think Zach showed far more ability and experience then his fight record would lead you to believe.
I’m still not sure about Raffik, I don’t know if he’s naturally that cocky or if it’s just a nervous reaction? His fight stance and rhythm seemed more like a kick boxer then a Nak Muay. Lot’s of hopping around… he seemed like he was over excited. I think Dhzabar fought a good fight. I think he was more scrappy then usual, but I think that was more to do with Raffik then anything.
JWP and Yod… great final, I would have been happy for either one of them to win. I’m glad Yod got some prize money for his mom. It’ been a very long road for him I’m sure. As for JWP… through out the show, he kept saying he wanted to be remembered as one of the all time greats. Personally I think he already achieved that before the show.
I was actually a bit surprised by the fight; I had actually expected Yod, to work a lot more. Normally he comes out and sets the pace, but I think JWP knew he couldn’t let that happen. I think he had to do whatever was necessary to keep Yod from dictating the pace.
Anyway, I’ll be trying to do some interviews with some of The Contenders in the following weeks. If any of you train with or know any of the Contenders drop me a line.
I want to thank all of you who’ve sent me clips, links and have participated and been part of MMT these past several months. Big Props to Spydaman for helping keep the comments spoiler free. We’re a small but strong community, thanks for being apart of it.